2, 4, 6, 8…. we appreciate the square!
The Square are South London's premier grime crew rewriting the rules for a new generation of spitters.
The majority of South London's hot-like-fire new Grime crew are not yet even legal drinking age. But 2014 saw them storm everywhere from Fabric's main room to Milan Fashion Week. From their HQ in Lewisham's McDonalds, the tracksuited ten-piece are headed up by XL's new wunderkind and i-D Class of 2015 alumni, Novelist. But each and every member of the crew is a potential star in the making. Since forming three-years-ago they've carved their own space in the scene by showing respect to the forefathers (their matching tracksuits are a nod to UKG MC crews back in the day) whilst re-writing the rules (they caused a Twitter splash last year when they eschewed Lord Of The Mics and challenged Northampton MC Izzie Gibbs to a clash outside their favourite cheeseburger-peddling hot spot). Last year's Pengaleng, their bragalicious ode to the opposite sex, was a massive club anthem, and they look set to follow suit with next month's release, Lewisham McDeez. Both tracks display an infectious love of the daily workings of British life and offer an oh-so-2015 window into the mind of 17-year-old boys everywhere. i-D crunches some numbers with the rambunctious bunch of proud Lewisham lads hell-bent on spreading the gospel of grime to a whole new generation….
2 favourite pars
Do you really believe that?
"You're chatting to someone and they're like 'You know what, I think that girl over there's really pretty', and you say to them 'Do you really believe that?' It makes them question themselves so you don't even need to insult them. It just cuts so deep. It's slightly patronising - like something a teacher would say to you."
I'll ring you back.
"It's one of the all-time deepest pars. You'll be in a deep conversation with someone and to slide out of it real quick, you'll cuss them like - 'I'll ring you back'. They know that they're not gonna get the ring back, but life goes on."
4 greatest grime ciphers of all time
Nasty Crew VS Roll Deep, Sidewinder 2003
"It's the best set every really. It's full of energy. The biggest names in grime right now were in those two crews back then - it was raw talent against raw talent. They had the fire that we feel we have right now."
Fuck Radio, The Movement Set
"It shows skill more than anything - control, charisma, technicality. You can see what each of the individual MCs brought to the table."
Boy Better Know, 100M Views SBTV
"This one's about watching the legends at the height of their game. BBK are doing a whole different thing than anyone else has done - they're taking grime to different places. They're taking things big but they're keeping it real."
The Grime Show on Rinse, The Square Part 2
It shows the energy and flavour that we have in our crew - individually everyone is representing themselves. It's a proper showcase of our talent. In a few years time it'll be considered one of the best.
6 of The Square's biggest influences
"He's the greatest of all time for us. He has really pushed grime and done a lot for the scene. He's been there from the start. Anything that a grime artist can do - Wiley's done it. He's always supporting the youngers as well. He hasn't reached out to us yet - but that'll come."
"He reminds us that, no matter what age you are, you can still do what you wanna do. He was so young when he started to make all of his proper bangers. He also showed us how you can take grime and actually make an album and art work out of it."
"He's a wrestler. His name's Legend Killer and he's got a great character. The Square is all about charisma and us all having individual characters."
"They're worldwide. You can't disrespect them. We wanna see more girls at raves. We're trying to make music to get girls to shake a leg as well. Our current favourite pengalengs are Mz Bratt and Rita Ora. But you can also find bare peng tings in the Lewisham shopping centre."
"One word - culture. That's what Lewisham is. As a group we've all grown up here. Go to Lewisham on a Saturday for the market and you could be anywhere in the world. There are all different cultures, ages and races in one place. Everyone mingles together in Lewisham and there's a whole community because of that. That's why we like doing grime - in Lewisham that's what the music was so we're just doing what we know."
Ruff Sqwad production
"The sounds from them are very raw and diverse - they have influences from all different types of genres. And that's what we're about - no limits. We all love grime but we listen to loads of different types of music. When you take those influences and apply them to grime, it makes it sounds so much richer."
8 things you need to know about The Square
They're bringing tracksuits back… "We all love a tracksuit. That's why we all wear our own The Square branded tracksuits. It's the London culture. Round where we live, on the estates, everyone wears tracksuits, so we're trying to keep that culture going."
…and Milan is into the look. "Roundel invited us out there to play at Fashion Week. Obviously not many people know about grime in Milan so it was a whole different ball game. We tried our hardest to make sure everyone could get behind what we were doing. They were all skanking with gun fingers, so we think we did alright."
They're ready to branch out… "We have plans for solo projects, just like Novelist. We're all big characters in The Square and we hope that everyone finds their favourite artist."
…but their crew is tight. "Understanding the history, most MCs that are successful have come from a crew. Every MC brings something and when we come together we're unstoppable. We write lyrics together and get inspired by each other. There's a special skill to spitting with your crew - you have to keep humble. You have to accept the fact that in a minute you're gonna have to jump off the mic and give someone else a go. You have to be aware of the other guys - you've gotta build chemistry."
The best rave they've ever performed at was Novelist's 18th Birthday in January. "The night was crazy. There were just so many people there. When we played Pengaleng everyone knew every lyric. It was good to see people that support us as much as we used to support the guys above us."
Boxed is their favourite club night. "They're taking the grime sound to a whole new level. It's all instrumental-based - they've taken the genre and done something interesting with it."
They've got love for South London MCs. "Jendor's got this distinctive voice; P-Money's always representing the ends; K Dot's great at rotation on the mic; and Prem's coming up the ranks. Hold tight Prem."
You better be ready for the Lewisham McDeez video - out in March. "It's an anthem. Always remember - if you wanna clash me - Lewisham McDeez."
Text Clare Considine